Mar 142015
 
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By billierosie

Slowly, slowly, the beacon fire smouldered. In 1897, Bram Stoker struck the first spark when he published his horror novel Dracula. The kindling had been stacked up for centuries, in the form of mythologies, rumours and stories; those creepy tales whispered about Vampires. Creatures of the night; the undead, seeking you out to sink their fangs into your tender jugular and drink your blood; draining you. The stories go back thousands of years. Now, in 2015, the beacons have crossed oceans; the fires flame fiercely, proclaiming that the old stories are still being told and new tales are being written.

Stoker could have had no idea that his short novel would precipitate a whole genre of writing that would hold sway on our collective imagination for decades.

Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, the novel’s influence on the popularity of vampires has been singularly responsible for many theatrical, film and television interpretations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

From the beginning of history, vampire-like spirits and beings have been recorded. The Akhkharu were blood-sucking demons, written about back in the time of Sumer. We’re talking about 5,000 years BC. The ancient Chinese wrote about “hopping corpses” which would go around and consume a victim’s life essence (commonly known as chi). Even ancient Egyptian lore had a story where the goddess Sakhmet was consumed with bloodlust. From the earliest of times, vampire-like beings have been prominent in the folklore of several different cultures.

The most well-known versions of vampire myth are those of the Slavic and Romanian cultures, which, due to their proximity, are similar. And it is from Eastern Europe, that Stoker’s Count Dracula originates.

There are several reasons that a person may become a vampire, such as unnatural death, birth defects, or conception on certain days. Romanian legend gave rise to the belief that being bitten by a vampire would doom one to become a vampire after death. Both Slavic and Romanian myths hold the belief that, with the advent of a vampire, there would be deaths of livestock and family members of the vampire. The favoured way to kill a vampire in these two myths is by driving a stake through the heart, decapitation, and if necessary, dismemberment. Slavic and Romanian vampire myths have given rise to the most popular world-view of vampires.

But what’s the fascination? Why the endless retelling of this old story? Are we playing with danger from the safety of fiction? The horror of vampires is very real; I should know. I spent my adolescence terrified of them; especially Dracula. I invented bizarre little rituals to ward him off and keep me safe. Positioning on my left side as I lay in my bed, was paramount—as was a convoluted prayer; a mantra that I would recite over and over again. Sleep would be a long time coming.

The success of Dracula spawned a distinctive vampire genre. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers places the current vampire myth in the “comparative safety of nightmare fantasy”.

We relinquish control to the vampire. He swirls his cloak around his victim and bites. His teeth penetrate us. It’s a reconstructed image of the sexual act; in fact actual copulation seems tame compared with what the vampire can do. The victim has no control over his ghastly lover. The victim flirts with death.

Sex and death.

But it’s not just the Count we have to fear. He is scary, but his entourage of female vampires more so. Female vampires are predatory and take their pleasure where they will; they are women who take control of the sex act itself. Victorian men—beware! The ideal Victorian woman was chaste, innocent, a good mother. She definitely wasn’t a sexually aggressive huntress.

The three beautiful vampires which Jonathan Harker, Stoker’s narrator, encounters in Dracula’s castle, are both his dream and his nightmare; indeed, they embody both the dream and the nightmare of the Victorian male imagination in general. The sisters represent what the Victorian ideal stipulates women should not be; voluptuous and sexually aggressive—thus making their beauty both a promise of sexual fulfilment and a curse. These women offer Harker more sexual gratification in two paragraphs than his fiancée Mina does during the course of the entire novel. However, this sexual proficiency threatens to undermine the foundations of a male-dominated society by compromising men’s ability to reason and maintain control. For this reason, the sexually aggressive women in the novel must be destroyed.

In a passage highly charged with erotic symbolism, Jonathan Harker writes in his journal,

“I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck—she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight, the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one’s flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.”

The vampire lover is receptive erotica personified. You relinquish control; you do nothing, other than give yourself up to the seduction.

Janine Ashbless suggests; “We don’t fantasise about controlling vampires—we fantasise about how we have NO control over them. They are stand-ins for Death itself.”

Stoker’s narrator flirts with the promise of an intercourse so erotic that he will give up his life.

Later in the novel, Count Dracula has made his way to England, and sets about possessing the upper-middle class Lucy.

Once infected by Dracula, Lucy becomes sexually overt and aggressive, and is portrayed as a monster and a social outcast. She feeds on children making her the maternal antithesis as well as a child molester. In order to rectify Lucy’s condition she is sexually overpowered by her fiancée, Holmwood; the scene is witnessed by Jonathan Harker and Van Helsing. Holmwood penetrates her to death with a stake through the chest, a staking which is openly sexual in interpretation:

“The thing in the coffin writhed; and a hideous, blood-curdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions; the sharp white teeth champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. He (Holmwood) looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper”

The killing of Lucy is a sort of legitimised gang rape, legitimised because the Victorian balance of sexual penetration from the female domain is back in its accepted station within the male domain.

The reasons for our fear of, and fascination with, vampires change with the times we live in. To Stoker’s contemporaries, Count Dracula posed many threats to Victorian social, moral and political values: he changes virtuous women into beasts with ravenous sexual appetites; he is a foreigner who invades England and threatens English superiority; he is the embodiment of evil that can only be destroyed by reasserting the beliefs of traditional Christianity in an increasingly skeptical and secular age; he represents the fear of regression, a reversal of evolution, a return to our more primal animal state.

Think of the wealth of literature, film and television dramas that we wouldn’t have if Bram Stoker hadn’t written Dracula.

Perhaps they leave you cold—I love them! I’m over my teenage angst about them. There’d be no exotic Lestat, from Ann Rice. No Hammer House of Horror. No vampires with a conscience; M.Christian wouldn’t have written his vampire novel, Running Dry. Neither would Janine Ashbless have written her short story, “The Blood of the Martyrs”. All wonderful stuff; my favourite writers digging around in my agonised psyche.

And then there’s those TV shows; Buffy, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries. A blood-letting, tinged with magic. I lose myself in a world, of exotic, erotic fantasy. A strange world of death and immortality. Stories that speak to us once again of an ancient, horrid rite and fear.

***

billierosie has been writing erotica for about three years. She has been published by Oysters and Chocolate, in The Wedding Dress. Logical Lust accepted her story “Retribution” for Best S&M 3. She has also been published by Sizzler, in Pirate Booty and in their Sherlock Holmes anthology, My Love of all that is Bizarre, as well as Hunger: A Feast of Sensual Tales of Sex and Gastronomy and Sex in London: Tales of Pleasure and Perversity in the English Capital. She also has a collection of short, erotic stories, Fetish Worship, as well as novellas Memoirs of a Sex Slave and Enslaving Eli, both published by Sizzler Editions in 2012 and available for purchase at Amazon.
billierosie can be found at Twitter, @jojojojude and at her blog.

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May 222014
 
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This month’s Fetish Column takes an introductory look at one of the most potentially dangerous forms of “edge play”: autoerotic asphyxiation. While the editors of WriteSex are pleased to include this information among its other fetish-related posts—we feel it will inform our readers’ writing and general knowledge—we would like to remind readers that neither this nor any of our “edge play” posts serve as endorsements for reckless behavior in real-life bedrooms or dungeons. Which is also to say: do not attempt autoerotic asphyxiation without the supervision and assistance of an experienced, highly-trained expert, and/or without having attended a class/workshop given by an experienced, highly-trained expert. At the very least, do not do it alone.

Both the writer of this post and one of our editors have lost dear friends to unassisted autoerotic asphyxiation and have no desire to see any of our readers numbered among them.   —Ed.

 

By billierosie

What is Autoerotic Asphyxiation?

Autoerotic Asphyxiation is the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal. It is also called asphyxiophilia, autoerotic asphyxia, hypoxyphilia or breath control play. Colloquially, a person engaging in the activity is sometimes called a “gasper”. The erotic interest in asphyxiation is classified as a paraphilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatrist Joseph Merlino states that it meets the criteria for a disorder because it has the potential for death or serious injury.

The carotid arteries, on either side of the neck, carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain and the accumulation of carbon dioxide can increase feelings of giddiness, light-headedness and pleasure, all of which will heighten masturbatory sensations.

When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can induce a lucid, semi-hallucinogenic state. Combined with orgasm, the rush is no less powerful than cocaine, and like cocaine, can be powerfully addictive.

Various methods are used to achieve the level of oxygen depletion needed, such as a hanging, suffocation with a plastic bag over the head, or gas or volatile solvents. Sometimes, complicated devices are used to produce the desired effects. The practice can be dangerous even if performed with care and has resulted in a significant number of accidental deaths in the United States, the United Kingdom and across Europe.

Death from Autoerotic Asphyxiation

Deaths often occur when the loss of consciousness caused by partial asphyxia leads to loss of control over the means of strangulation, resulting in continued asphyxia and death. While often asphyxiophilia is incorporated into sex with a partner, others enjoy this behaviour by themselves, making it potentially more difficult to get out of dangerous situations. Victims are often found to have rigged some sort of “rescue mechanism” that has not worked in the way they anticipated as they lost consciousness.

In some cases, the body of the asphyxiophilic individual is discovered naked or with genitalia in hand, with pornographic magazines nearby, with dildos or other sex toys present, or with evidence of having orgasmed prior to death. Bodies found at the scene of an accidental death often show evidence of other paraphilic activities, such as items of fetishistic clothing (e.g. corsets, harnesses, frilly underwear) and masochism. In cases involving the discovery of deceased family members, parents/siblings/spouses might disturb the scene by “sanitizing” it, removing evidence of paraphilic activity.

The great majority of known erotic asphyxial deaths are male. The typical age of accidental death is mid-20s, but deaths have been reported across a wide range of ages, from adolescence to the mid-70s. Very few individual cases of women with erotic asphyxia have been reported.

Autoerotic asphyxiation has at times been incorrectly diagnosed as murder, especially when a partner is present. Some hospitals have teaching units specifically designed to educate doctors in the correct diagnosis of the condition.

Lawyers and insurance companies have brought cases to the attention of clinicians because some life insurance claims are payable in the event of accidental death, but not suicide.

Famous and Fictional Deaths

The composer Frantisek Kotzwara died from erotic asphyxiation in 1791, which is probably the first recorded case.

Albert Decker, the stage and screen actor, was found in 1968 with his body graphitized and a noose around his neck in his bathroom. The artist Vaughn Bodé died from this cause in 1975. Stephen Milligan, a British Conservative MP for Eastleigh, died from autoerotic asphyxiation, combined with self-bondage, in 1994. Kevin Gilbert, songwriter, musician, composer and producer, died of apparent autoerotic asphyxiation in 1996. The actor David Carradine died on the 4th of June, 2009 from accidental asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner who performed his private autopsy. His body was found hanging by a rope in a closet in his room in Thailand, and there was evidence of a recent orgasm; two autopsies were conducted and concluded that his death was not caused by suicide, and the Thai forensic pathologist who examined the body stated that his death may have been due to autoerotic asphyxiation. Two of Carradine’s ex-wives, Gail Jensen and Marina Anderson, stated publicly that his sexual interests included the practice of self-bondage.

The introductory scene of the film The Ruling Class shows the death of Ralph Gurney, the 13th Earl of Gurney (portrayed by Harry Andrews), from accidental autoerotic asphyxiation. Autoerotic death was also used in the Robin Williams film World’s Greatest Dad.

A Final Word

And death by Auto Erotic Asphyxiation isn’t just the reserve of those with celebrity status. The tragedy hit close to home when my friend George found his older brother Charlie hanging from a coat hook on his bedroom door. The Coroner’s Report registered Autoerotic Asphyxiation as the cause of death. They played Don McLean’s Starry, Starry Night at Charlie’s funeral.

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May 122014
 
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One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.

***

By M. Millswan

I made my first introduction to sex between the pages of a book when I accidentally discovered a dog-eared paperback during a search for my father’s secret stash of Playboys. I don’t remember the title, but I will always remember the illustration on the cover: an impossibly buxom redheaded stewardess bending over to offer a traveler a drink, along with a view down into the grand canyon of her cleavage. Upon those pulp-fiction pages ran a story of lustful abandon—fucking, sucking, groping, stroking, and cumming and cumming and cumming, with enough jizz to make even Linda Lovelace choke. Upon page after steamy page, I learned that a woman craves nothing more out of life than to give herself over in every way possible to the lustful desires of any male she encounters, anywhere and at any time. And every macho man she entices into her embrace possesses a twelve inch rod of high-carbon steel, and his impassioned thrusting makes the pounding of a jackhammer pale in comparison to power of his massive manhood.  For a young man still yearning for his first sexual encounter not involving a spinning bottle, books such as these provided a peek into what I assumed was the real-life adult world of lust and sex. And, clearly, it was all about the sex—raw and carnal, yeah, baby!

Let me finish this cigarette, Toots, or whatever your name is. Then how about you bend over, and let’s go for sloppy sevenths.”

“Oh …yes …yes …do me, Big Daddy! Give it to me! You know I want it! And baby wants it now!”

Erotica such as this (complete with rampant exclamation points so the reader knows when to be excited) had its place when sex had no choice but to hide in the shadows. And yet, just as people have evolved and learned that living in a house is much more comfortable than living in a cold, dank cave, so too have we learned that sex spiced with passion and romance is much more fulfilling than sex as no more than another excretory bodily function. Much more than heaving bosoms and thrusting cocks gushing cum, an awesome sex scene should always be about the emotions of the participants, whether experienced by real people or enjoyed vicariously through our books and stories. Sure, sex will always be a natural function of the body—but the passion and pleasure of it is all in the mind. Every successful romance or erotica writer today knows they must show the scene—and make the reader feel it—rather than simply describing its mechanics. It’s necessary for the reader to envision these scenes with such passion that the story really can be a vicarious sexual experience; that it’s their lips being kissed and their body locked in a sultry embrace. To satisfy the discriminating tastes of today’s sophisticated consumer of romance and erotica, rather than writing a wham, bam, thank you for swallowing, ma’am type of sexual encounter, it’s important to encompass both the physical and the emotional aspects of sex. As an example, here is an excerpt from “Snap Shot” which illustrates the promise of romance mixed with the anticipation of passion, setting the scene for a romantic but very sexual encounter:

It seemed she filled the room. The scent of her, the blue of her nightie, the pink of her lips, the heat of her breath, the flush in her cheeks, the way her hair shone as it moved in the afternoon sunlight, everything; she seized my every sense and so much more. When she slipped off her nightie and let it fall to the floor, it seemed a haze clouded the room, time stood still, and there was no sound at all other than my heart pounding in my ears. In my private reality, the one I’ll always cherish, there was no more outside world, only this ravishingly beautiful girl standing stark naked before me. She glided right past me, easily as alluring seen naked from behind as from the front, those legs, her hourglass hips, the way her cheeks came together below the curves of her bottom, merging into that place of dark mystery concealed between her legs. My awareness of her nudity was almost overwhelming. I just could not believe I was here with her, even while feasting my eyes upon her. When she lay down upon the bed and beckoned to me with her eyes and a come to me crook of her finger, it was almost too much to comprehend; but here she was, alone with me and entirely willing to do whatever I desired of her. Yet I wondered, would she truly do anything, anything I asked?

Of course, there are as many different tastes in sex and romance as there are readers of sex and romance, which is why there are so many genres out there—and a whole spectrum between “sweet” romance and edgy, no-holds-barred erotica. Yet whether a reader enjoys a little romance with their sex, or a little sex with their romance, it is the writer’s goal to anticipate and fulfill those desires. The one common denominator between all these genres, subgenres and combinations of romance and passion? The surefire way to satisfy as many readers as possible? Put them in the scene. Because isn’t that what we all want anyway?  Not to just read about it, but to actually be there.

***

M. Millswan is the author of over one dozen books, many of them erotica.

Millswan writes, “Isaac Asimov gave me great advice about what it takes to become an author.  Corresponding with him was always as flattering as it was educational and  inspirational.  My first best-seller, Farlight, was a science fiction novel. From the success of Farlight I have expanded into the genres of Horror and Erotica.”

From the cutting-edge socio-erotic novel Living in the State of Dreams to the softly sensual Snap Shot series of novellas and short stories, readers from around the world have expressed how much they enjoy the vivid sexuality and softly sensual emotion captured in every M. Millswan story. In ’09, Millswan’s short story, “The Best of Friends”, was singled out for critical honors as one the best of the best in the Swing! anthology. Newly released erotica titles include Tabu, Weekend at Sally’s, Damned, Lady Luck and The Best Erotic Short Stories of M. Millswan.

“It was surely destiny that I moved into the field of Erotica,” Millswan says. “While owning and operating a white water lodge in the jungles of Costa Rica, my wife and I were victims of a tropical storm. With our business destroyed, she was forced to return to the States while I stayed behind to guard our remaining property. Almost completely cut off from the world, each week I penned her a handwritten letter. After a while I had the idea to begin writing her a story expressing how much I missed her. She saved each chapter, and once we were reunited she urged me to try to get it published. The rest is history, as the historical romance I wrote for her, Rolling the Bones, helped me to become established as a professional author.”

“When people claim they are only human,” he often observes, “it’s usually because they have been making beasts of themselves.”

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Apr 212014
 
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By Dr. Amy Marsh

This is going to be a tough post to write. It’s not a comfortable topic. And I may have to use a bit of academic jargon, which I usually don’t enjoy. However, sexology and erotology’s need for intersectionality awareness has been much on my mind this month, thanks to examples of cultural appropriation like these:

  • An STD alert app for iPhones, given the brand name of “Hula”…even though hundreds of thousands of Native Hawaiian ancestors died from foreign borne diseases, starting with syphilis and gonorrhea. (Hawaiians are actively protesting this brand name, which also appropriates their most sacred and valued cultural tradition.)
  • Nicole Daedone (of One Taste) recently publicizing herself as “the Jimi Hendrix of orgasm…”
  • Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, The Doors, which I’d never seen and have just watched on Netflix. Stone included many gratuitous scenes of supposedly shamanic hallucinations of Indians who were stuck in the script—I guess—to somehow bless the Jim Morrison character as he behaved so very badly on drugs.

But before tackling this convoluted topic, I’d like to share the “Johari Window” below. It’s a way we can think about the difficulties we encounter as we struggle to understand various intersections of oppression and privilege, particularly our own. The Johari Window was created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1969, as “a model of different sorts of knowledge that affect self-development” and I found it in Julia Wood’s excellent book, Interpersonal Communication—Everyday Encounters (6th ed., 2010, p. 57). When we’re asked to recognize our own privileges (especially the ones that contribute in some way to other people’s oppression), I think it can be difficult not only because we may feel put on the spot, but also because entrenched privilege resides in the blind area. We may have a tough time seeing these sorts of privileges, because we’re so used to having them, but others can spot them from a mile away.

JOHARI WINDOW

Known to Self

Unknown to Self

Known to Others

Open/Public Area

Information about ourselves that is known to us and to others.

Blind Area

Information others know about us but we don’t know about ourselves.

Unknown to Others

Hidden Area

Information we know about ourselves but don’t reveal to others.

Unknown Area

Information that we don’t know, and others don’t know. Untapped talents & resources, unknown reactions to situations that haven’t occurred.

However, just because privilege resides in the “blind area” (a poor choice of words, actually, and reflective of a certain kind of privilege!), this doesn’t let us off the hook. Once these things are pointed out to us, it’s open information. Still, I bring up this model so we can all be a little kinder to each other (and to ourselves) as we consider the rest of this blog.

According to Wikipedia, “intersectionality” is a feminist theory named as such by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. It is an attempt to chart and analyze the relationships between all the oppressive mechanisms, categories, and identities that can be used to create injustice and inequality: race, sex, class, gender, species, ability, sexual orientation, and so on. The “matrix of domination” (a term credited to Patricia Hill Collins) refers to the various operations and assumptions of privilege and forms of discrimination which may be operating upon us—sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, and so on. The matrix, indeed!

Intersectionality is complicated, and this is a superficial introduction. It’s too vast a topic for this simple blog. So, please just read about intersectionality, and think about how these complexities operate in your life and in the lives of those around you. My intention is to swing us back now to a more practical, and more focused, discussion which might actually have some use for erotic writers!

The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality is one of the few places in the world which offers courses in erotology. When I studied there, Dr. Jerry Zientara offered us the following criteria for formal and content analysis of erotic art (similar to art history analysis):

  • Title/Name
  • Medium/Format
  • Artist(s) (this includes visual artists, writers, directors, etc.)
  • Models(s) (represented in visual art)
  • Source/Provenance
  • Formal description of the work
  • Content description

I’ve also tried to understand erotica in the context of Dr. Loretta Haroian’s concepts of sexually permissive, sexually supportive, sexually repressive, and sexually restrictive societies. In other words, I try to find out if the artist created the erotic work in alignment with or in opposition to the values and assumptions of his/her/hir society and historical period.

However, I also see a need to incorporate awareness of intersectionalities into analysis of existing erotic work. Last year Claire Litton, a sexologist who had attended the 2013 IASHS Summer SAR (an 8-day “sexual attitude reassessment” program), wrote several critical blogs about her experiences. She particularly expressed a desire for more awareness of issues pertaining to intersectionality. Litton was particularly horrified by one of the explicit posters hanging in the IASHS corridor. This poster depicts a cartoon cowboy with a lasso-long penis, twirling it toward a horrified Indian woman who was running away. I know this poster. It’s been on the IASHS walls for a long time, and while the artist might have intended it as an ironic, x-rated commentary on settler colonialism, native genocide, and rape of native women (and then again, maybe not), I agree that this is an image that many people will find offensive beyond its sexual content. Litton was troubled by this poster, and questioned IASHS staff about it. Unfortunately, she did not get the kind of response from IASHS that she was seeking.

So this brings up the stickiest part of this discussion: it’s one thing to include intersectionalities in our critiques of existing erotica, including awareness of the histories of the matrix of domination: oppression, genocide, social injustice, sexual trauma and other forms of violence. It’s another to ask ourselves to refrain from producing erotic work which feeds into and perpetuates that matrix.

In the United States (and many other places), people who create erotic work—art, film, literature—are generally not given much social approbation or recognition. This kind of creativity is considered deviant by many. Erotic artists, writers, and filmmakers become artistic “outlaws.” Part of the allure of creating erotica includes the artistic freedom to deal with taboo content and imagery. Our sexual fantasies are seldom tidy, sometimes problematic (even to other parts of our own minds), and not always actionable in real life without causing harm. What’s more, we might find joy in pushing limits, or even exploding them. However, sometimes the characters or images we create are described in ways which are offensive to people who have suffered from generations of imposed and brutal trauma. So I wonder, how much of this kind of portrayal—like the cowboy and Indian poster—comes from people who are so entrenched in the privileges inherited from settler-colonialism that they can’t understand how these characterizations affect others? (There’s that Johari Box problem again!).

Anti-porn feminists (and, perhaps needless to say, I’m not one of them) have been talking about sexism, violence,  and misogyny in porn for years. And, I’ve gotta say, with regard to certain films or books, they’re often right. However, while this doesn’t mean that making erotica or porn is wrong in and of itself, it does mean that erotica and the people who make it are not exempt from intersectional analysis.

So for those who consider such matters, the question quickly becomes one of personal responsibility, like deciding to NOT dress your latest erotic heroine like a “Pocahottie” or NOT using people of color as plot or movie props.

In the U.S., we are slowly beginning to understand that certain stereotypes and behaviors cause harm and perpetuate various forms of oppression—and are, therefore, simply not acceptable. Sports teams, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and governor’s daughters are now catching hell for actions which range from entrenched racism (parodies of Native Americans as sports mascots) to spoiled entitlement (wearing a lipstick-coordinated “warbonnet” as a fashion statement) to blatant commodification (the “hula” app). As erotica becomes increasingly accessible and even more mainstream, I expect that many artists, writers, and filmmakers will also find that their work has come to the attention of activists and academics, and that some producers of erotica will find that they being held accountable for elements which have nothing to do with the kind of sexual actions they’ve portrayed.

Ideally, this issue should be less about censorship (self or social) and more about raising awareness, including our own. While I realize this post is hardly the last word on a very complex topic, generally I like to think that eros flourishes in the least oppressive circumstances for everyone involved.

 

Blogs and Sources:

Haroian, Loretta. Child Sexual Development. Feb. 1, 2000. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. http://www.ejhs.org/volume3/Haroian/body.htm

Harris, Tamara Winfrey. Five of Cultural Appropriation’s Greatest Hits. Sept. 3, 2013. http://www.racialicious.com/tag/cultural-appropriation/

K., Adrienne. Open Letter to the Pocahotties: The Annotated Version. Oct. 9, 2013. http://nativeappropriations.com/2013/10/open-letter-to-the-pocahotties-the-annotated-version.html

K. Adrienne. Dear Christina Fallon. March 7, 2014. http://nativeappropriations.com/2014/03/dear-christina-fallin.html#more-1888

Uwujaren, Jarune. What’s the Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation? Oct. 8, 2013. http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/hesaid-whats-the-difference-between-cultural-exchange-and-cultural-appropriation/

 

Amy Marsh, EdD, DHS, CH, CI, is a clinical sexologist and AASECT certified sex counselor, certified hypnotist and hypnosis instructor, and an associate professor of human sexuality at the world’s most radical sex school. She is a former Carnal Nation columnist and author of the recently published first volume of the Love’s Outer Limits series, Sex Squicks & 100 Other Things You Didn’t Know About Sex. Learn more at dramymarshsexologist.com or follow @AmyMarshSexDr on Twitter.

 

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Apr 082014
 
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By billierosie

A while back, I wrote a story called “Will You Be my Mommy?” It’s in my Fetish Worship collection. The tale explores the fetish of infantilism. I talked about the despair and isolation that I imagine having such a fetish can entail—the sense of being the only person in the world who could possibly feel like that; of having no one to communicate with. The shame of being found out; of being laughed and sneered at. I think the story struck the right tone, judging by the comments it’s received. So I followed it up with another story called “I’m Sorry, Mommy!” where I continue to explore the deepening sexual and emotional relationship between my two protagonists. In this latter story I introduced a lactation fetish—a desire to suckle and drink milk from a woman’s breast. The two seemed to fit together. And there were more excited comments.

“Paraphilic infantilism,” explains the Wikipedia entry on same, “is also known as autonepiophilia , or adult baby syndrome, and it involves role playing and regressing to an infantlike state. Behaviours may include drinking from a bottle or wearing diapers. Those involved in the role play can engage in gentle, nurturing experiences; an adult who only engages in an infantilistic play is known as an adult baby. Others may be attracted to wearing diapers; the Infantilist may urinate or defecate in them.”

Some may want to be punished and be attracted to masochistic, coercive, punishing or humiliating experiences. While infantilism—like BDSM and role play in general—requires the consent of both partners, it is often said that the one receiving the punishment or humiliation ultimately controls the way the scenario is played.

Little research appears to have been done on the subject of infantilism. It has been linked to masochism and a variety of other paraphilia. It has been confused with paedophilia, but the two conditions are distinct and infantilists do not seek children as sexual partners. Rather, they want to roleplay as the children; the adulthood of the other people involved adds to the relative “littleness” of the infantilist, and the appeal of the scenario as it plays out.

It seems that the motivation is around the need for a parental figure, usually that of a mother, who will look after the adult baby’s life and make the world feel safe—though as we’re talking about adults, it’s usually sexualised as well. This sexualisation can be expressed through scenes that play with the tension between permissiveness and discipline: the adult baby transgresses some kind of rule and is spanked or smacked for it; the adult baby can do absolutely anything in their playpen or cot, including soiling their diapers—at least until “mom” finds out.

When I wrote about Infantilism, I focused on the needs of a high-powered businessman desperately seeking the woman who would play the part of his mommy. When Joel walks into his home at the end of a stressful day, he kicks off his shoes, relinquishes his control and plays the role of a twelve-year-old, relying on Sally to make everything safe and okay.

And then there is the “Daddy” fetish: Daddy is strong and warm, a comfort, a source of strength and power that doesn’t have to come from within. He takes away the responsibility that the sub, or the little girl/boy, has grown weary of having to handle.

Psychologists and psychotherapists sometimes deal with repressed memories; the return of the repressed. Perhaps infantilism is a way of returning to a childhood—either the infantilist’s own or the one they wish they’d had—through an actual physical therapy that allows, through role play, the ability to relax into a world that involves little to no responsibility and a great deal of loving physical intimacy (compare that to the state of far too many lives in our world, love-starved and burdened with stress). Maybe it’s an effort to reboot one’s entire process of socialization; if you were taught all your manners and potty training and other social restrictions at the hand of an impatient, ill-equipped parent, maybe you want to go back and learn it all again with a good one. Or maybe infantilism is a response to an incest fantasy, or even a memory of incest which needs to be processed. Perhaps it’s a basic, human, long-buried desire to have one parent, a mommy or a daddy, all to oneself in the closest possible way.

 

billierosie has been writing erotica for about three years. She has been published by Oysters and Chocolate, in The Wedding Dress. Logical Lust accepted her story “Retribution” for Best S&M 3. She has also been published by Sizzler, in Pirate Booty and in their Sherlock Holmes anthology, My Love of all that is Bizarre, as well as Hunger: A Feast of Sensual Tales of Sex and Gastronomy and Sex in London: Tales of Pleasure and Perversity in the English Capital. She also has a collection of short, erotic stories, Fetish Worship, as well as novellas Memoirs of a Sex Slave and Enslaving Eli, both published by Sizzler Editions in 2012 and available for purchase at Amazon.
billierosie can be found at Twitter, @jojojojude and at her blog.

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Mar 132014
 
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By P.M. White

Often, a quick scan on Amazon’s selection of erotica reveals one very hard-to-miss fact: there are a lot of women writing in the genre these days. You’ll also notice dozens of author names which obscure or mask the author’s gender. It’s always refreshing to see a new name—be it male, female or tbd—enter the erotic fray, and many of my favorites write from the female perspective—which they do, mostly, because they’re female writers.

There are, of course, the popular male writers: authors like the incredible Maxim Jakubowski, the awesome M. Christian, Terrance Aldon Shaw and others, not to mention age-old standbys like Vladimir Nabokov and Marquis de Sade, each providing their own unique voice to the genre.

And, few in number though they may appear to be, there are also contemporary and emerging male erotica writers out there. I’m one of them. And whether I want to admit it or not (and I must, since I’m writing this piece), I do occasionally pay attention to gender when it comes to my peers in the field. Having written erotica since 2008, my attention to others in the industry led to a number of conclusions.

For one, the illustrious golden goose is a shy little thing for writers seeking a payday in sexy literature, no matter one’s gender. For another, we male writers might almost be an endangered species when it comes to an apples-to-apples head count. This isn’t to say there isn’t a good sampling of male blood in the field. In fact, there may be more male writers than some might think.

According to author Gregory Allen, some male writers actually pen under a female pseudonym due to their fear that a masculine name might alienate readers.

“I’ve heard people say they prefer the way men write and I’ve heard people say they prefer the way women write,” he said. “I’m surprised when I hear people voice a preference like that. Short of reading every book ever written, a person can’t really say they don’t like the way women write men or the way men write women without making unfair judgments about a lot of authors. I know there are male writers who use female pen names for fear of alienating readers who prefer female authors. I don’t begrudge any writer trying to gain readers. Readers are gold. Writing is a lonely life. I used to hear that and think it was because writers are alone when they write, but now I think it’s because writers communicate intimately with a blank page.”

Allen, who specializes in female domination erotica, wrote in other genres for a number of years before turning to stories that focus on romantic, monogamous, female-led relationships.

Allen said. “When I started, I realized I had already sculpted my ideal mistress from my own fantasies in Kimberly, from Courting Her and Serving Her.”

Allen makes it a point to shut out gender stereotypes when he’s writing.

“I avoid considering my characters as male or female. I think of them as individuals, who obviously are male or female, but that subtle shift in how I think of them enables me, I think, to keep gender stereotypes out of my writing. I’m not obligated to keep my female characters ‘like’ other women, or my male characters ‘like’ other men. That frees me to focus on creating characters who feel authentic and unique, at least to me, and then I can hope readers find them to be, as well,” he said.

Author Willsin Rowe, meanwhile, got his start in erotica after he joined a project designed to mass-produce books and graphic novels. He was brought on board to produce horror stories with an edge of black comedy, but soon learned of another group on board the project tasked with producing erotic romance.

“Then, a matter of months later, I found out about a contest to write an erotic romance story. I submitted mine, and was lucky enough to win. That scored me a contract with a small publisher, and I’ve grown upward and outward from there,” Rowe said.

He describes his own work as “gritty romance.”

“It doesn’t always fit into the capital-R Romance category, but I strive to make the connections intense and rewarding,” he added.

A big difference between male and female writers of erotica, Rowe said, are descriptive terms.

“Being lateral and literal creatures, we males often write erotic scenes from a sequential, and even geographical point of view, I think. So, we’ll often spend time describing what appeals to us, which may not be the same as what appeals to a female writer,” Rowe said. “For example, a male writer may focus on the sweet way that fulsome breasts wiggle when we make a woman laugh, whereas a female writer may take that same moment and describe the twinkle in his eye as he delivered the witticism.”

Rowe said there are likely more female readers than male readers interested in erotic fiction at the moment.

He said, “All the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen tells me there’s a far higher contingent of female readers than male. And where one perspective is chosen, it’s more commonly the female. I believe that, for the most part, men are more interested in reading female POV (point of view) than women are in reading male POV. At least as far as erotica and erotic romance are concerned.”

No matter what, Allen said, writers need that human-to-human contact to grow in their craft.

“So many of us are aching for that, or asking for more of that, because a gap always exists in communication, but especially when the communication is so delayed as it is between writer and reader. But, for me, the opportunity to reach someone who thinks only female authors can be romantic or can create authentic-seeming female characters is too tempting. It’s bigger than me or my books, and if someone whose mind isn’t made up about male authors—which must be the case if they’re giving me a chance—feels differently about them after reading me, then that may be worth sacrificing a wider audience.”

Is it harder these days to be a male author these days? Rowe offered a resounding yes.

“I do think it’s harder, but it’s probably one of the softest kinds of hard you’d ever find,” he said. “We’re basically facing an automatically reticent general buying public by remaining male (as opposed to taking on a female pen name). I’ve had more than one woman tell me (without having read my work) that they don’t enjoy male-penned erotica. But as I say, it’s a pillow-like hardness. We’re not fighting for emancipation or civil rights, here.”

There are benefits as well, he added.

“It’s easier to stand out in people’s minds when you’re part of a subculture,” Rowe said. “First, there’s the physicality. I’m 6’ tall, 200 lbs, shaven-headed; I play in a band and ride a motorbike. I don’t look like most erotica/romance authors. But more than that, there’s the rather low bar that has been set by some members of the male gender. In real life and online, I’m polite, respectful and complimentary. Adding a Y-chromosome to those characteristics seems to make a world of difference.”

 

About Willsin Rowe
Willsin Rowe is the author of Submission Therapy, as well as a number of other titles co-authored with author Katie Salidas, including Occupational Therapy, Immersion Therapy and others. For more information, visit his website at willsinrowe.blogspot.com or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

About Gregory Allen
Author Gregory Allen can be found on Facebook and FetLife, as well as on Twitter @GregoryAllenPF. He’s the author of Courting Her, Protege Mistress, and Serving Her ­– all published by Pink Flamingo. He’s also the author of Bottoms in Love, published by 1001 Nights Press.

 

About P.M. White
Writer P.M. White has toiled on a number of sexy stories over the years, including his newest novella Volksie: A Tale of Sex, Americana and Cars from 1001 Nights Press. His previous publications include the Horror Manor trilogy from Sizzler Editions: Eyeball Man, Desire Under the Eaves, and You are a Woman. White’s short stories have appeared in Sex in San Francisco, The Love That Never Dies, Bound for Love, Pirate Booty and many others.
For more information, visit him on Tumblr at pmwhite.tumblr.com, at his Amazon author page, on Twitter @authorpmwhite and on Facebook.

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Mar 062014
 
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By Blake C. Aarens

My first piece of erotic fiction was published in 1991. Since then, my work has appeared in magazines and journals, in print books and e-books, in all kinds of anthologies, and even in book-length collections of my very own. The constant across all those forms and formats has been that I respect sex and I respect writing and I don’t ever lose sight of either one of those things when I come to the keyboard to craft new work. The basics of sex and the basics of writing are shockingly similar. In both pursuits, it’s all about the nouns and the verbs, the who-what-when-where-and-why.

1 – People, not just parts
If I don’t give a f*#@ about your characters, I won’t care when you write their clothes off and start bumping their pelvises together. Build people—fully realized, deep, conflicted human beings—before you even begin to worry about his length & girth or her cup size.

2 – What the f*#@ are they doing?
Give your reader details—specific, anatomically correct, graphic details. Certainly temper your language to the format and intended audience, but SHOW us what your characters are doing. People read erotic literature for all kinds of reasons: to be the fly on the wall or to imagine new possibilities for themselves, to name just a couple. It is our responsibility as writers of erotica to plant details in our readers’ brains that set their neurons firing.

3 – What time is it?
What day, what week, what month, what year? It’s important. Cuz morning wood is a whole lot different from the wood ya gotta work for at 11 PM after 2 meetings, a performance review, and getting 2 kids fed and bathed and off to bed. And an anonymous sexual encounter on the hood of a car in Chicago in January is a completely different animal from that same scene set in New York City at the end of July.

4 – Where the f*#@ am I?
Take the reader to your bedroom. Or the back row of your favorite movie theater. Or the one room in your place where you’ve never “done it”. The setting for an erotic encounter is one of the major players in the scene. Don’t give it short shrift.

5 – Why them, why this, why now?
More often than not, this last essential detail is for the writer more than the reader. The piece you’re crafting might not actually get into why these 2 (or more) have come together to come, but you as the writer certainly better know the answers. Knowing your characters’ basic motivations, their backstories, and their specific erotic needs are the jumping off points for any encounter you write. They are the place where you, the author, must begin.

Take your writing seriously. Take sex just as seriously. This is the most important thing I have learned, and I pass it on to you.

 

Live fully, keep reading, and don’t stop pressing those keys!

—BCA

 

Learn more about, and keep up with, Blake C. Aarens on Twitter as @BCAarens, and at her Amazon Author Page.

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Feb 242014
 
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By Colin

Sometimes I fantasize about the very end of my life, that final moment when I’ll be called to account for all my misspent years. Only instead of seeing St. Peter looming over a giant ledger in front of the pearly gates, I go back to those old black & white crime films—particularly the final scene where the cops have caught the bad guy and are pressuring him for a confession. I play the bad guy (duh), but instead of armed robbery or sassin’ my mother, the fuzz got me for writing porn. And just before they take me away to the rockpile, the hot lady cop (well, they’re both hot lady cops, with really big bazongas), tips back her fedora and growls:

“One thing bugs me, Colin…why’dja do it? Why’dja throw away years and years of your life writing about boobies and handcuffs and chicks taking off their shoes? Smart guy like you. You could’ve been a real writer, like James Michener. So for Pete’s sake, why?”

I’ve never doubted what my answer would be. Why did I spend so much of my adult life writing pornographic fiction? Why were my first stories published in soon-to-be-sticky, over-the-counter mags, alongside phone-sex ads and grainy blowjob photos? Why did I spend 2001 alone writing and publishing nine novels which were, as much as they were about anything, about women’s feet?

Because it was fun.

Now, it might just be me, but I can’t ever remember a time when the population at large had so furiously dedicated itself to eradicating every speck of fun from its collective lives. When fresh-faced twenty-somethings didn’t just work eighty hour weeks, but actually needed to snivel and whine for the opportunity to do so. When husbands and wives would bitch at each other to take the kids on Saturday, not so they could sneak out to brunch with their buddies or lovers, but get in an extra hour of so of training for that marathon they signed up for. When diet-masochists tried to live entirely on salads and ice water, until their bodies were so starved for basic nutrients that they would drool over steamed kale in the same orgiastic tones once reserved for hot fudge sundaes.

We thought the ’80s were bad. The ’80s were The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus freaky-deakin’ Bosch next to this puritan-infested wasteland we’re stuck in now.

Like I say, though, maybe it’s just me.

Look, hard work does have its rewards, for writers as well as sane folks. There is real pleasure in taking on a project that offers challenge as well as indulgence, that stretches your abilities to make scenes and characters work against insurmountable odds. It might even be that that particular pleasure is the real point of undertaking a life of writing.

But fun—at the very least—has its place as well, and that seems especially apt when you’re talking about erotica. Porn embodies so many of the things beginning writers are taught by the mainstream to avoid or even to despise: abandon versus control, action versus thought, and most of all an emphasis on the sensual over the cerebral. Yes, yes, I know: Michel Foucault, Georges Battaille, Marco Vassi, blah blah blah…despite what some think, porn has never wanted for eggheads. But surely part of what makes erotica attractive to creative people is that feeling of hurling yourself into something that appeals to the gut over the noodle, which bypasses black and white moral divisions, which is even a little naughty.

In my early twenties, I became briefly addicted to fetish videos. This was in the early ’90s, when most of the product out there still clung to storylines, as opposed to cutting right to the chase (or the favored body-part). It was all big hair, big boobs, too much makeup, implausibly broad characters and criminally bad acting—a neon-colored world of crap. But I loved it. The same goes for the fiction and “true-life” letters in the porn magazines. For better or worse, the tropes and rhythms I found there would be a crucial influence on the fiction I would later write. Forget sword and sorcery paperbacks and horror movies: this was real escapism. I could put aside the agonies of forging a social life and career in Reagan’s America in favor of jealous girlfriends luring each other into bondage clubs or paying their rent with casual sex.

The very real pleasure I took in that world still lingers. It’s why I still have a smile on my face every time I sit down to start a new story or novel or comic. ‘Cause it’s fun, dammit. And sometimes—no matter what your professors or bosses or significant others or the hot lady cops hauling you off to the big house say, fun is enough.

 

Colin is a fetish writer and the single most prolific professional author of tickling erotica working today, with dozens of books to his credit. www.gigglegasm.com and www.ticklingforum.com.

 

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Feb 182014
 
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By billierosie

Hey You! Yes, you peeping through the keyhole. Yes, you, the guy masturbating in the peepshow booth, watching the lady dance her erotic tease.

And you, you, who thought you were safe looking at dirty pictures in secret, while your wife sips her tea from her favourite china cup; you’re not safe. And neither is the sophisticated lady cruising the National Gallery pretending to look at the chiaroscuro, form and line, in the masterpieces.

You’ve been spotted.

The naked females stare boldly back at you.

You’ve been caught out. You’ve been caught looking.

Your quest to fulfill your carnal desires has landed you in big trouble. Your desire to obtain knowledge of the female form cannot be obtained in any innocent way. In the vernacular, you are a Peeping Tom. To give you your polite name; you are a Voyeur. You are no better, no different to Tom, blinded for his crime of looking at his Lady as she rode, naked through the streets. Peeping Tom saw what was taboo; forbidden. So have you.

And you hetero girls, don’t think you’ve got away with it either; so wipe those smirks off your faces. That wonderful statue of David, by Michelangelo; did you know that David’s eyes follow you? He’s watching you looking at his beautifully sculpted cock. He may be flaccid, but you are dreaming of an erection. He can see the lust in your eyes.

And something else that has to be considered; the place of the Exhibitionist. There is something about Michelangelo’s statue that makes the viewer feel that David knows that he is being watched. The tables have been turned; the viewer is now the subject of scrutiny. Painters have responded to the theme, too. Goya’s nude Maja almost glares at the viewer with a sneer of irritation. And Manet’s “Le dejourner sur l’herbe”—the lunch on the grass was shocking at the time Manet exhibited it. A woman naked, casually lunching with two fully clothed men, was an affront to public decency. But the naked women in these paintings negate any suggestion of indecency. The women confront you with an expression that seems to find the viewer’s excitement boring. As if they are saying; “Oh, do grow up!”

Faced with that, the viewer’s lust is diminished.

Film has responded, too, to the place of the voyeur. I was watching the classic Hollywood film Rear Window a few weeks ago. Looking is what film is all about and Rear Window is about voyeurs and the pleasure of looking; the pleasure of looking that cinema offers. James Stewart’s character Jeffries is incapacitated by a broken leg and is confined to his apartment. To alleviate his boredom he takes up watching his neighbours—and here, Rear Window establishes a connection between cinema and television. There are cuts from Jeffries’ face to the shots of what transpires outside his window to the frame of Jeffries himself watching the man in the helicopter watching the women that Jeffries himself was just watching. This classic narrative film is a metaphor for cinema, but it is actually television that the film most identifies with. Jeffries’ viewing—and our point of view is most often that of Jeffries—is more like channel surfing than watching a film. Each window across the courtyard offers a different channel.

And yes, television has made voyeurs of us all. We live our lives through watching lives unfold before us on the screen. The hourly news programme directs us to people dying of hunger on the other side of the world. One man watches another man starving to death. I didn’t want to see the hanging of Sadam Hussein on my television screen. But I had no choice, the moment was there before me before I could switch off or change channels. Reality TV programs, Big Brother. And again the Exhibitionist. The desire to be famous has been well documented; but famous for what? It doesn’t matter; just being seen on television is enough.

 

billierosie has been writing erotica for about three years. She has been published by Oysters and Chocolate, in The Wedding Dress. Logical Lust accepted her story “Retribution” for Best S&M 3. She has also been published by Sizzler, in Pirate Booty and in their Sherlock Holmes anthology, My Love of all that is Bizarre, as well as Hunger: A Feast of Sensual Tales of Sex and Gastronomy and Sex in London: Tales of Pleasure and Perversity in the English Capital. She also has a collection of short, erotic stories, Fetish Worship, as well as novellas Memoirs of a Sex Slave and Enslaving Eli, both published by Sizzler Editions in 2012 and available for purchase at Amazon.
billierosie can be found at Twitter, @jojojojude and at her blog.

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Sep 242013
 
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By Valerie Tibbs, Tibbs Design

When I get a request for a cover, I always go through and see what the author wants.  Sometimes the requests are just ridiculous, like “I need a zombie carrying a sword and going on a killing rampage”.  Uh… Sure.  About that…

So after I explain to the author the limitations of stock photos, they finally have a better understanding.  Sometimes however, I run into an author who’s adamant about a particular thing, and I can’t deliver.  I have to refer them to an illustrator or they’ll have to muddle through on their own.  It happens.

I had to realize I couldn’t make everyone happy every time.

But here’s part of my process that I wanted to show you.  I got a request for a hot guy (a Selkie to be exact, which I had to look up since I didn’t know what that was), coming out of the Northern Atlantic ocean at night.

Well, I thought to myself, that should be easy.  So here was my first draft:

1

I showed this to a friend, and she went, “I don’t like the girl’s butt in my face.”  Eh.  Good point.  Not quite what the author wanted, either.

So here’s the next one that I showed her:

2

Oh, he’s sexy.  But, um… he’s coming out of the ocean.  Shouldn’t he be wet?

Uh… oops!

So here’s the next version:

3

Nice, huh?

Well, I forgot one thing.  It’s supposed to be the North Atlantic, not the Caribbean!  Wrong color water. Dang it.

Because we didn’t like the guy in the previous one we picked him instead:

4

Here’s the next revision:

5

Better, yes?

But, Valerie, it’s supposed to be night time!

Dang it…  One more revision:

6

By George, I think she’s got it. YAY me! :)

And here is the final, with full resolution images and a tweak on the author name:

7

And that is just a fraction of what goes on with creating a cover…  This is my process.  Every artist has their own way of doing things.  But I love it!  :)

 

VALERIE TIBBS

Valerie Tibbs is a graphic designer with over 20 years of experience, including hundreds of book covers and dozens of websites. Find her at www.tibbsdesign.com, and Twitter: @valerietibbs

 

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